Every other week there's a trendy new diet that promises quick results. One you may have heard of is eating pineapple for weight loss. Even though pineapples have multiple health benefits, unfortunately, losing pounds isn't as simple as eating more.
Pineapple is a fruit with multiple health benefits, but unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that weight loss is one of them.
Pineapple Health Benefits
Pineapples are rich in various nutrients, including vitamin C. Per the USDA, 1 cup of pineapple has 78.9 grams of vitamin C, over 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance of 75 milligrams for an adult female.
According to the National Institutes of Health, humans are unable to naturally synthesize vitamin C and so must consume it as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C is important for producing collagen, protecting the body from free radicals and boosting immunity.
Read more: What Are the Benefits of Eating Pineapple?
Pineapples also contain bromelain, a mixture of enzymes with numerous therapeutic uses. According to a September 2016 study in Biomedical Reports, bromelain has been used to effectively treat intestinal disorders and heal soft tissue injuries. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain have been shown to inhibit tumor growth and could be useful in anti-cancer treatments.
How Weight Loss Works
Despite all of these pineapple benefits, there are no studies that show pineapple is directly effective for burning fat or losing weight. But that doesn't mean that eating pineapple can't be a part of your larger weight loss plan. Dropping pounds is a matter of basic math.
You have to create a calorie deficit, where the number of calories you consume is lower than the number you expend (the latter is influenced by a number of factors, including your resting metabolic rate and physical activity).
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss
Reducing the number of calories you take in doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat less — you just have to eat smarter. Not all calories are created equal.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that eating fruits and vegetables can aid in weight management when you substitute them into your diet in place of higher-calorie foods.
Fruits and vegetables tend to be high in water and fiber but low in energy density, a measurement of calories relative to the weight of the food. Because of this, people can eat more low-energy-dense fruits and vegetables while still reducing calories and staying full.
An October 2015 review in the Iranian Journal of Health also reported that increased fruit and vegetable intake could help with weight loss when eaten in place of high-energy-dense foods such as saturated fats or sugars.
A 165-gram cup of pineapple has 82 calories, which means it has a very low energy density of 0.5. (For comparison, low-energy-dense foods have 0.7 to 1.5 calories per gram, and very low-energy-dense foods have 0 to 0.6 calories per gram).
Takeaway: Pineapple for Weight Loss
The key is to make sure you are swapping in fruits and vegetables (vs. adding them to your current diet) because even though they are healthier and have lower calories than highly processed or high-fat foods, they still do have some calories, and your goal is an overall reduction in energy intake.
Pineapple by itself may not be able to aid in weight loss, but it is a low-calorie fruit with a multitude of health benefits and can be integrated into a healthy weight management program.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Vegetables and Fruits"
- Biomedical Reports: "Potential Role of Bromelain in Clinical and Therapeutic Applications"
- National Institutes of Health: "Vitamin C"
- United States Department of Agriculture: "National Nutrient Database: Basic Report: 09266, Pineapple, Raw, All Varieties"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People to Manage Their Weight?"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight"
- Iranian Journal of Public Health: "Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions: Narrative Review Article"
- American Journal of Physiology: "'Calories In, Calories Out' and Macronutrient Intake: The Hope, Hype, and Science of Calories"